Monday, June 8, 2015

Thoughts on Weddings from a Butcher

I do not write much about my work outside of my own farm, largely because it is still hard for me to believe that most of my work involves weddings.  I still view myself as a butcher -- even though it has nearly been five years since I worked full-time at a slaughterhouse.  When someone refers to me as a wedding planner, my instinct is still to correct them that I am a butcher.  Beyond my internal perception of myself, it is often hard to explain the difference between a wedding planner and an event coordinator.  A wedding planner helps to establish the vision for the event and atmosphere of the reception.  An event coordinator ensures that details of the day actually happen.  Example given: a wedding planner decorates the venue and helps select vendors; an event coordinator makes sure the venue is prepared for the event and the vendors actually do their jobs.  Wedding Planners design the atmosphere . . .  And I use the organizational skill set developed on a kill floor to make sure the event actually happens.  Running a slaughterhouse was excellent preparation for running weddings.

Pinterest is my enemy.  It creates false perceptions of what an event should be, and misleads brides into thinking that their wedding will be a failure unless they have 250 multi-colored fluff balls hanging from the ceiling, individual hand-decorated Mason jars for each guest with their name on them, and dramatic DIY doors with stained glass to create an "entrance" to an outdoor ceremony space.  My least favorite phrase in the world is "my special day" . . . Yes, it should be an amazing day.  But it is only one day, and your marriage -- God willing -- will be many years of joyful adventures as a couple.  If your wedding day is truly the Best Day Ever, you will apparently be confined thereafter to a meaningless and monotonous existence.  The brides I enjoy the most are the ones who want to be married, and the brides I enjoy the least are the ones who want have a wedding.  

I have run enough weddings now that I have seen nearly everything.  I have seen brides that had breakdowns over minor details, and I have seen brides that were so happy to be married that they did not care if it poured down rain the entire time.  I have run many processionals that included dogs, one that had a cat for a ring bearer, and even one with a trained duck for the flower girl.  I have seen receptions with margarita machines, waffles for dessert, a bounce house, and the OSU marching band.  I have called an ambulance, cleaned up body spills, and looked after a lost grandmother that everyone thought had a ride home with some other relative.  I have known three grooms that I seriously considered the ethics of advising the young man to run (if your fiancĂ©e yells at you during the rehearsal, in front of your family & closest friends, prayerfully consider if this is the person with whom you want to spend your life).  I have shut down DJs, broken up fist fights, and dealt with clogged toilets.  I have met couples who kept my faith in the sanctity of marriages, and I have met those that severely tested it.  I have worked with brides young enough to be my daughter.  One of them nearly broke me when she began crying after I told her it was time to start the processional.  I put my arms around her and told her she could take all the time she wanted, but I started to tear up when she looked at me and said, "Can we just go?  I just want it to be over."  I never want to experience that again.

The mothers are often the toughest to manage.  We have had mothers who brought a personal security guard to the reception, who tried to cancel the wedding without their children knowing it, and who accused our team of taking their precious Pinterest decorations (which are always sitting out in plain sight to those who have not been drinking wine all evening).  I tend to work with some awesome brides & grooms, but I never quite know how the rest of the family will be!  Sometimes they are absolutely amazing, which makes my job a pleasure.  I like people, and I like to help.  Do I like my work?  There are many other things I would rather do with my time, but the work is worthwhile and I am good at it.  Plus I like to have a cell phone, and health insurance, and food -- so I appreciate the opportunity to earn income whether people are pleasant to me or not.  Money from grumpy clients spends just as well.

It is rare that I have a ceremony that actually impresses me in a good way.  While I lead most processionals, I rarely stay to listen to a ceremony.  The wedding today, though, was one of the most sincere with which I have been involved.  It was a young couple on a strict budget who got married on a Monday to save money, witnessed by their 45 closest friends & family.  We only met once before the wedding, and we talked far more about how they fell in love & what they wanted to do with their life together than we did about layout or vendors.  They were loving toward each other, respectful toward their guests, and appreciative of our efforts.  Couples like that are the reason I keep doing my job.

If I could give advice to parents it would be to remind them how blessed they are to see their children married to a good partner.  Support whatever celebration (within reason) the couple wants.  If your child wants to have a Pirate themed wedding or wants to get married at a venue that you do not like, JUST GO . . . and remember that many parents do not get the privilege of celebrating a child's marriage.  Mine did not.

Advice to bridesmaids & groomsmen?  Do not get drunk.  Everyone will make fun of you.  Especially me.

Finally, if I could offer any thought to couples preparing to marry it would be this: Marriage is for life and a wedding is for one day.  Focus on preparing for the marriage -- and the wedding will fall together seamlessly.

And don't have fluff balls.

Monday, June 1, 2015

June News from the Central Ohio Young Farmers

June News from the Central Ohio Young Farmers

Save the Date: 
Please join us Tuesday 6/2/15 to meet State Supreme Court Justice Judi French!  This is an amazing opportunity to have dinner & discussion with a member of the Supreme Court of Ohio!  We will meet at Manifesto in downtown Columbus starting at 6:30pm, with Justice French presenting at 7:00pm.  Manifesto has just launched a new menu and revamped their space, and the restaurant is reserving a table for our group to be able to dine & convive with Justice French.  Parking is available at meters around the restaurant (21 East State Street 43215), or at the Columbus Commons parking garage. We look forward to seeing you!

Huge thanks to Pam Snyder of the Fort Hayes Career Center for a FANTASTIC tour in May!  Pam is the director of BioSciences Technology at this urban career center and she is doing amazing work educating young people on the biosciences.  Students also become part of the FFA program, and are exposed to many new ideas about agriculture & professional development through this.  It was impressive to see how Pam incorporates the FFA program into an urban school -- and especially impressive to realize how she is changing lives by providing instruction that translates into real career opportunities for young people.  Our council looks forward to partnering in the future with the Ft. Hayes FFA Chapter, as part of our goals to connect urban consumers with farming and to further opportunities for young people in agriculture.

Did you catch the Food Dialogues event on water hosted by the United States Farm & Ranch Association?  If not, you can still catch it online!  Visit to watch the panel discussion on water quality issues in Ohio and in our country.  Our council had great discussion with Jordan Hoewischer in May on water challenges for agriculture and accomplishments by farmers thus far.  Watching this event online is a great way to learn more about the challenges that farmers will face to protect our earth and produce food for our community.

Breakfast on the Farm is coming up on Saturday 6/6!  This event is free to the public and is a fun opportunity to share a meal on a farm.  Breakfast on the Farm is hosted by Madison County & Franklin County Farm Bureau, and the chair of the event is our council member Cassie Williams!  If you are interested in attending, please contact the Franklin County office to register at  Better yet, if you are interested in volunteering, please contact Cassie at to sign up.

Congratulations to Jaclyn Ritchey & Trey Rogers for their marriage on 5/9/15!  Our council was well-represented to celebrate their wedding.  We send them best wishes for a life of wonderful adventures together!

What is Farm Bureau?  Ohio Farm Bureau is made up of county organizations that work to promote farms, connect farmers with consumers, provide education & networking opportunities, and support policy that benefits the farm community.  As part of its grassroots efforts, county Farm Bureaus encourage the development of councils: groups of individuals who socialize, debate ideas, and support each other in our farm endeavors.  The Central Ohio Young Farmers (and young at heart) council was started in 2007, and is congenially known as the Irish Pirates.  It encompasses Both Madison & Franklin county farmers, and strives to address issues relative to being a BMF farmer!

Save the Date . . .
6/2 Delaware County Policy Breakfast
6/2 Union County Policy Breakfast
6/2 COUNCIL MEETING: special guest Justice Judi French of the Ohio Supreme Court
6/3 Union County board meeting
6/6 Breakfast on the Farm hosted by Madison & Franklin Counties
6/23 Madison County board meeting
6/23 Delaware County board meeting
6/27 OFBF Young Ag Professionals Summer Reach Out tours
7/11 Ice cream with a Farmer hosted by Union County
7/12 COUNCIL MEETING: summer picnic at Neall Weber's
7/12-7/18 Madison County Fair
7/16 Madison County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting
7/18-7/25 Franklin County Fair
7/26-8/1 Union County Fair
8/7 Applications due for the Excellence in Ag & Outstanding Young Farmer contests
8/12-8/16 Farm Days at COSI
8/17 Franklin County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting
8/22 Delaware County fundraiser for Flying Horse Farms
8/25 Delaware County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting

Have an idea for a council event?  Want to highlight an activity in the council e-newsletter?  Curious how to get involved?  Contact Katherine Harrison at with your ideas!